As you read last week, I went to Chicago and ate everything decadent I could get my hands on, and you'll see in next week's blog post that I am doing the same in a different city as you read this. But during the 10 days between vacations, I decided to keep my diet clean so my body wouldn't absolutely hate me for the richer-than-usual food I was consuming.

I have been a vegetarian since 2009, but I've never taken the plunge into veganism. I love cheese, eggs and honey way too much to say goodbye. If you look inside my refrigerator at any given time, you'd find at least three varieties of cheese, if not more. I just can't give it up. But in the interest of making my body healthy with a slight reset between two foodie trips, I tried to eat as many vegan meals as possible.

Some modifications to allow for vegan meals were easy.

I went to Chipotle for lunch one day, and if you omit the sour cream and cheese, you can have an easy vegan meal. In the morning,

I typically start each day with oatmeal, so that is already a vegan breakfast.

And thanks to my cooking challenge last month, I had some vegan recipes I knew I could count on from the official cookbook by Thug Kitchen, including bean, corn and green-chile flautas.

But some of my favorite things to eat include dairy in some capacity. From avoiding using butter for a quick sauce on pasta to using a soy-based yogurt for an acai bowl, I had to find alternative sources of deliciousness.

Will I ever go vegan in the future? Probably not, unless my health were dependent on it.

But was it a good change of pace? Sure.

And I definitely appreciate how my body feels without dairy. I still love cheese and eggs, especially in a good breakfast sandwich, but now I know I can eat well without depending on those items in a meal.

Next week, you'll get a new travel blog post from me. Any guesses on where I'm visiting this time?

Check out the latest dinners and recipes posted to https://Facebook.com/TinyMessyKitchen or at www.TinyMessyKitchen.com.

Email ThisWeek copy editor/page designer Abby Armbruster at aarmbruster@thisweeknews.com.